Senlin, A Biography: Part 02: His Futile Preoccupations - 09

A poem by Conrad Potter Aiken

It is evening, Senlin says, and in the evening
The throbbing of drums has languidly died away.
Forest and sea are still. We breathe in silence
And strive to say the things flesh cannot say.
The soulless wind falls slowly about the earth
And finds no rest.
The lover stares at the setting star, the wakeful lover
Who finds no peace on his lover’s breast.
The snare of desire that bound us in is broken;
Softly, in sorrow, we draw apart, and see,
Far off, the beauty we thought our flesh had captured,
The star we longed to be but could not be.
Come back! We will laugh once more at the words we said!
We say them slowly again, but the words are dead.
Come back beloved! . . . The blue void falls between,
We cry to each other: alone; unknown; unseen.
We are the grains of sand that run and rustle
In the dry wind,
We are the grains of sand who thought ourselves
Immortal.
You touch my hand, time bears you away,
An alien star for whom I have no word.
What are the meaningless things you say?
I answer you, but am not heard.
It is evening, Senlin says;
And a dream in ruin falls.
Once more we turn in pain, bewildered,
Among our finite walls:
The walls we built ourselves with patient hands;
For the god who sealed a question in our flesh.

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